“When it was evening on that day [Easter], the first day of the week, the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” (John 20:19)
On Easter evening Jesus walked through the locked door and said to the women and disciples, “Peace be with you.” That was a bold statement to make to a group huddled together in hiding. The scripture describes this group as “frightened,” “doubting,” “disbelieving,” and “wondering.” Yet, in the midst of their turmoil, amid that conflict, amid the pain of yesterday and the confusion of Easter morning, Jesus comes and says, “Peace be with you.”
If you’re like me, you can read this section of scripture and relate better with the disciples’ feelings, than Jesus’ statement. We all of you do, what it feels like to be frightened. We all know about doubting. We know about having moments of “wondering” about the story of Jesus, and question God’s plan for the world. Because of that, when we look at this moment, one of our first questions to Jesus might be: “tell me about this peace you are talking about.”
Tell me about the peace that you are now giving us: Where is it? How do we get it? How do we hold it? How do we keep it?
The good news is Jesus knew the question would come and answers it for us. When encountered the Emmaus walkers, they went from sadness to hope when Jesus: “opened their minds to understand the scriptures, saying, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’”
Peace, our peace for life, is given to us in Jesus’ return from the grave; giving to us all the hope of life.
Picture the serenity of that moment on Easter evening when Jesus comes to the frightened disciples and says, “Peace be with you.” Picture the room lit by a single lamp on the table, men and women quietly huddled together, and suddenly Jesus appears among them, sees their fright and despair, smiles, and says softly, but powerfully enough as if he were yelling it, “Peace be with you.”
The next time you are frightened, doubting, despairing, close your eyes and picture yourself among the disciples and women on Easter evening and hear Jesus say to you, “Peace be with you.”
~ God bless, Dan